Kraken’s Sheahan Hoping for Continued Success After Strong January

Riley Sheahan elevated his game in January and maybe even his trade value. The 30-year-old center showed he can still play a valuable role on a team despite limited minutes. From his strong defensive play to his improvements in the faceoff dot, the former Buffalo Sabre is finally settling into his role for the Kraken.

Sheahan’s Faceoff Improvements

One area of weakness for the Kraken is faceoffs. Of all players who took at least 50 faceoffs on the Kraken in the month of January, only one was above 50%. That one player was Sheahan. He went 45 for 89 on faceoffs and won 57.6% while at even strength.

Riley Sheahan, Seattle Kraken
Riley Sheahan, Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Through his first 19 games, Sheahan struggled when it came to faceoffs. He only won 45% of all draws and only won 40.4% of all defensive zone draws. Thanks to his strong January, he saw an increase in win percentage in every zone and at every strength. If he is moved at the deadline, teams will be looking at if he can win faceoffs and will hopefully notice the upward trend. A fourth-line center needs to be reliable in the faceoff dot, and based on January, the former 21st overall pick from 2010 is returning to form.

Sheahan’s Analytics are Strong

In January, no player who played over 50% of the 12 games had a higher five-on-five Corsi than Sheahan. He finished the month with a 57.95% Corsi and while he was on the ice, the Kraken outshot the opposition 54 to 41. He was above 50% in every category and was one of nine players to register a PDO (on-ice shooting percentage plus on-ice save-percentage) of over 1.000. He and his line were able to generate chances, get saves from their goalie and limit the opposition from creating high danger chances. Overall, it was a good month when analyzing his advanced analytics.

His best game of the month, and maybe the season, took place on Jan 17 versus the Chicago Blackhawks. The Kraken sneaked out a 3-2 overtime victory, with Sheahan playing a vital role. He would finish the game with 16:33 of ice time and a 75% Corsi rating at even strength. His line of Ryan Donato and Mason Appleton was on the ice for both regulation goals, with Sheahan picking up an assist on the first Kraken goal of the game.

Based on his minutes and usage, he did exactly what the Kraken needed him to do this month. Ensure the puck is kept out of the defensive zone and try to generate offense. He finished with a 50% Corsi or higher in ten of his 12 games and, as mentioned, finished above 50% in every analytical category. Although the Kraken as a team had some issues in January, Sheahan was arguably the team’s most consistent player the entire month. He may not put up points like Jared McCann or Jordan Eberle, but he played an important role on this team in January.

Related: Kraken Daily Download – Recap, Stats, Injuries & News

Sheahan’s Individual Statistics for January

When diving into Sheahan’s statistics, the most impressive part of his game is the ability to get shots on net five and five. During January, he finished 17th in five on five ice time but ranked tied for ninth with Yanni Gourde and Joonas Donskoi in shots. Additionally, he created five individual high danger scoring chances and created two rebound chances. In short, he is making the most of his opportunities and getting the puck on the net. This is something the Kraken has struggled with all season as they are ranked 31st in shots on goal per game.

Sheahan also showed off his strong defensive game as he recorded four takeaways and zero giveaways. He also drew a penalty, blocked two shots, and threw five hits. These statistics show he is engaged in the game and trying to help the team in whatever way necessary. This is definitely a trait contenders are looking for when acquiring rental players at the trade deadline.

Hoping for a Strong February

If Sheahan has a strong February, it could entice a contender who wants to beef up their bottom six. More importantly, it would bring back an asset that the Kraken desperately need. Regardless of what the future holds, he should be commended for a strong month, and hopefully, this is a sign of good things to come.

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